Outrage At London Heathrow: Security Staff Wear Pro-Palestine Badges Screening El Al Flight

Security staff at London Heathrow terminal 4’s fast track lane were all reportedly wearing Pro-Palestine badges while screening passengers before an El Al flight to Tel Aviv on Sunday. This violates their uniform rules.

Staff were wearing badges with the Palestinian flag and two were also wearing watermelon badges, which are viewed as symbols of solidarity with Palestine.

The security guards were reportedly replaced and had their badges confiscated following passenger complaints.

London Heathrow Security

Everyone on board an arriving El Al flight was ordered to go through extra customs checks on Monday, June 10th around 10:30 p.m. Every passenger going through the lane for ‘nothing to declare’ were taken to rooms and bags scanned.

We were walking through the exit when a customs official appeared and asked a man in front of me what he had on his suitcase. The man replied, an Israeli flag. Immediately, the customs official started shouting, ‘Everyone on the Israeli flight, go to the room on the left.’ One traveller said, “Why us? We are walking through with passengers coming off a flight from Doha.

According to the passenger, and official responded “I am a customs officer and I can do whatever I want.” The U.K. government says it’s because it was a night flight not because it was an inbound flight from Israel (carrying Jews).

Meanwhile in March, two Israeli survivors of the Nova Music Festival on October 7th were detained on arrival at Manchester airport in the U.K., being told officers “had to make sure that you are not going to do what you are doing in Gaza over there.”

JetBlue called the cops on a passenger who spoke up about a flight attendant who wore a Palestine flag pin on her uniform, and made sure it was visible even while wearing an apron during service and even while her Black Lives Matter pin was covered.

The ten-year elite passenger’s return trip was also cancelled after the crew reported that he made threatening comments, a notion that was disputed by several other passengers on the aircraft. JetBlue ultimately tightened its uniform policy. Delta, on the other hand, has been silent as far as I can tell on its employees wearing Palestine flag pins.

This isn’t an issue of free speech, and even necessarily corporate image. On a plane cabin crew exercises authority over passengers. They’re engaged in asymmetric speech – they are expressing themselves, while any counter-speech can be punished. It’s obviously far more serious of an issue with on-duty law enforcement.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s no longer acceptable to wear Nazi armbands in Europe so politically correct substitutes must be found to create an atmosphere of intimidation to use against the local Jews.

  2. @Joao “Part and parcel of living in a multicultural society.”

    João, assuming you are Brazilian or Portuguese based upon your name, how would you feel if in Brazil the button had a “Σ” – the symbol of Brazilian Integralist fascism – or in Portugal a button with a picture of Salazar or a Ordem Nova flag?

    Putting aside whether it should be legal to wear these things in public generally, what would you think about airport security personnel wearing them, and ask again if they only wore them for flights departing to Angola and Moçambique? I would personally consider it to be completely outrageous and offensive and I have no doubt that the authorities would put a stop to it immediately . . . to the extent the wearer hadn’t already been pummeled into submission by the crowd.

  3. @Joao

    You leftists are so disingenuous. When your side discriminates, it’s “free speech” or some other lame excuse like yours. Any speech you disagree with is labeled “hate speech”, “racist”, “white supremacist”, or whatever is your victimhood buzz word du jour, and then you go on a destructive temper tantrum. You’re driving away moderates, and the people who respond to your increasingly contradictory and illogical ideology is shrinking to just your fellow brainwashed zombie leftists.

    History will forever remember your side for actively assisting Muslim totalitarian, anti woman, anti gay, anti freedom of religion terrorists that aren’t super into multicultural societies as you say, so enjoy that.

  4. @Mak

    Ask Alexandre de Moraes, who is no fan of free speech.

    There are many people who had no problem suppressing free speech when it came to critics of the left and immigration. They never imagined that it would go the other way around.

    Something tells me that these staff aren’t Anglo Saxons that support Oswald Mosley.

  5. Seems customs “officers” in good ole jolly England are on par with their U.S. counterparts in terms of unpleasantness, discriminatory tendencies, and IQ. Yes, let’s take out our frustrations with a government’s actions by harassing the people from that country. Given their historical outperformance of committing atrocities all over the world and otherwise having had an outsized part in creating the current Middle East political mess, Brits then deserve the “best” welcome wherever they go.

  6. @Joao “Ask Alexandre de Moraes, who is no fan of free speech.”

    I have to say that I really don’t understand your rather obtuse answer to my question about YOUR opinion. I’m not asking de Moraes, I’m asking you. Should airport staff be able to wear Σ buttons when serving flights departing to Luanda? How about wearing buttons with Apartheid era South African Flags on flights to Jo’berg? All cool in your opinion?

    I think that these are the same exact people that in previous generations would have been marching with Oswald Mosely . . . or more likely would have been too ashamed to march with Mosely, but that shame has now been removed with rationalizations like yours.

    It’s been quite interesting to see the experience in Brazil, which I would say was essentially devoid of antisemitism and ethnic and religious hatreds generally for many generations, until it was brought to Brazil by Lula and PT as a tool of the left wing establishment using Jews and Israel as a surrogate for their fight against world capitalism.

  7. The passenger security screeners at LHR are not law enforcement personnel.

    The customs checks/personnel are a different matter, and it’s not unheard of for customs personnel to say or behave as if they can do anything they want with checking passengers’ belongings on arrival to a country — even if the passengers are only transiting — the country and not commonly subject to a fixed customs check checkpoint.

  8. @kathy (willrunformiles) “On a trip to San Sebastian, Spain this month, I found it disturbing to see multiple Palestinian flags on nearly every street.”

    It is richly ironic that the tendency of Europeans towards antisemitism overwhelms even their own sense of ethnic nationalism. It wasn’t too long ago when people in San Sebastian would have referred to their city by it’s Basque name Donostia while marching against the Spanish annexation of their ancient nation. Today it’s enough to point their anger at Jews supposedly occupying “Palestine” 2000 miles away and accept their role as subjugated people by a Spanish occupier.

  9. GUWonder says:
    “The passenger security screeners at LHR are not law enforcement personnel.
    The customs checks/personnel are a different matter, and it’s not unheard of for customs personnel to say or behave as if they can do anything they want with checking passengers’ belongings on arrival to a country — even if the passengers are only transiting — the country and not commonly subject to a fixed customs check checkpoint.”

    Assuming for sake of argument that “passenger security screeners at LHR are not law enforcement personnel,” what would you think about these same people wearing buttons with the Apartheid era flag of South Africa while working flights departing to Jo’Berg or Capetown? Fine . . . or not?

  10. Mak’s off his rocker yet again and it’s evident in his attempt to blame the opponent of Brazil’s equivalent of Trump (namely, Bolsonaro)..

    Racism in Brazil has long been there since even before Lula was duly elected and re-elected.

    Racism in Brazil got worse again in the last 30 years as part and parcel of Brazil becoming less Catholic as Evangelical Protestants and other newer Christian movements grabbed more and more adherents in the country and ramped up Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment in the country. Neo-Nazi mentality has grown in southern Brazil in particular — and that is not because of Brazil’s current left-of-center President.

  11. Anyone capable of dredging whatever scum of intelligence remains in their empty brain must realise that the flag of Palestine is the flag of a country in the same way the flag of the United States is the flag of a country, there isn’t a modicum of a problem with wearing a lapel or badge representing your country.

    Many airlines even print it on your physical name badge that you wear if you can speak that language!

    Honestly, this blog is worse than GodSaveThePoints these days…

  12. Mantis — much like his Lord Don the Con T*ump — is more on the side of reproductive rights for rapists and in favor of hatred of select religious and ethnic minorities in America than he is on the side of supporting freedom of choice for women and equal respect for all free people in the country regardless of religion and ethnic and national identity.

  13. I have seen multiple Palestinian flags in windows across Manhattan high-rise buildings below Harlem. Those flags have as much of a right to exist and be around as all the (more plentiful) Israeli flags I’ve been seeing in people’s windows around the borough.

  14. People whom feel like they have been oppressed by occupiers showing solidarity with other people whom they see oppressed by occupiers or being hammered by right-wing extremists? It’s not disturbing, it’s people showing their humanity with fellow-feeling and a recognition of some common experience at the receiving end of violent state actors suppressing legitimate national aspirations for autonomy and freedom from occupation.

  15. @GUWonder
    “I have seen multiple Palestinian flags in windows across Manhattan high-rise buildings below Harlem. Those flags have as much of a right to exist and be around as all the (more plentiful) Israeli flags I’ve been seeing in people’s windows around the borough.”

    This is concededly true, and I see many self-indulgent children walking around the city wearing Kaffiyehs as if they are Fedayeen Guerillas. But the question isn’t whether private citizens “may” wear these things – putting to one side whether it violates common decency – but whether employees at airports should be able to wear Palestinian Flag Buttons while working Israeli flights, Pre-Apartheid South African Flags while working South African Flights, Ordem Novo Flags while working Angolan flights, etc.? Every answer to this question that is in sympathy with these hateful people trying to antagonize Israelis and Jews using public facilities seems to sidestep the question . . . as you and João have done repeatedly.

  16. @Mak

    I support free speech, national sovereignty and I think that wearing buttons on the clock is silly. If a country wants to ban certain images, it is their sovereign right. An employer is entitled to maintain a policy on work uniforms.

    I have a problem with people that support their group’s sense of nationalism, but deny it to other groups. I think you have a problem with ethnic Europeans, the same as the airport staff which are probably recent immigrants or descendants. If there are Anglo Saxons wearing Palestine buttons, they are probably claiming to be the communists that fought against Oswald Mosely.

  17. When did Mak stop advocating for Islamophobia and various other forms of racism in Europe? And then Mak goes on to complain about “hateful people trying to antagonize” others. Mak/JR is a manifestation of the pot calling the kettle black.

  18. GUWonder would throw a screaming sh*t fit if a Customs Officer wearing a Trump badge held him over for extra screening…..

  19. @GUwonder

    Imagine complaining about colonialism so much that you engage in revenge colonialism instead of building your own country.

  20. This cairns character is amusing with his false assessments. Better luck next time with that mind-reading and prediction scam, but I am not buying it. 😉

  21. Palestinian flags in San Sebatian is the same as Palestinian support in Ireland – leftover failed revolutionaries (IRA or ETA) supporting their breathren. They all supported each other and traded arms. And all ultimately reported to the same master back in the day – Moscow. This is all well documented and why they all collapsed for the most part after 1989/91. (The Palestinians managed to find a new sponsor in Tehran. Which makes no sense as the Palestinians are Sunni and Iran Shia and they hate each other, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend.)

    They’re all “nationalist” in name only, nationalists are just Useful Fools – as soon as they win, the nationalists go up against the wall and the doctrinaire communists come to the fore. See the Iranian Revolution for the opposite move – the communists supported the revolution then were put against the wall by the theocrats a few short years later. It was just a matter of who shot first.

  22. The IRA was provided a political solution by the Clinton Admin that suited the Irish public in both the Republic and Northern Ireland and thus the IRA became a shadow of its awful self. The Clinton Admin came into being after the Soviet Union had already collapsed in all but name during the GHW Bush Admin.

    The ETA became a spent force for more complicated reasons, but Spain too changed its course in dealing with Catalonia. But Catalonian national aspirations actually manifested way more just 7 or so years ago — and that was long after the death of the USSR.

  23. There is nothing outrageous about mourning the deaths of 35,000 innocent victims. My student who is from Gaza (Palestinian American) has had twenty-three members of his family killed in their own homes by Israeli bombs. Not one of them was a supporter of Hamas. Their murders were disgusting and outrageous and I stand in solidarity with them. By the way, I’m a historian who teaches a course about the Holocaust and have led workshops alongside colleagues who work at the Holocaust Museum, so please don’t bother with the specious charge that I’m an anti-Semite or lack an understanding of Middle East history).

  24. @James – Regarding your comment that “Anyone…must realise that the flag of Palestine is the flag of a country in the same way the flag of the United States is the flag of a country, there isn’t a modicum of a problem with wearing a lapel or badge representing your country.”

    First, Palestine is not a country. Second, and more salient, it is not the flag of the country (real or imaginary) of the security personnel. It was worn as a political statement.

    The anti-Israel left in Europe took a shellacking in the recent elections. So there is hope over there yet.

  25. @Jeff Just because you teach about the Holocaust means NOTHING – While no way am I calling you Antisemtic, I am saying you’re uneducated and misinformed on this -First – Where did that 35K number come from? The terrorist organization itself – Hamas – These numbers have already been proven incorrect – Even if you go with the 35K number – How many of those are terrorists – Estimates are over 12-15K thousand of them – Then, take into account the “Innocent Palestinians” who are housing the Hostages – How about the Innocent Palestinians that kidnapped the hostages (it’s been documented that a large number of the hostages were kidnapped by Palestinian Citizens after the initial terrorist attack and SOLD to Hamas) – Now look at the quantifiable Terrorist death to non-combatant ratio and you’ll see that this war has the lowest non-combatant to combatant ratio in History – Now – If you want to question why Bashar Al Assad in Syria murdered over 500,000 of his own people in Syria and the world was silent- Now thats a great question – Although the answer is simple – It wasn’t Israel and they weren’t Jews – Anything Israel does will be condemned – Thank god Israel destroyed Iraqs Nuclear Reactor – After spending time at the Nova site and at Kibbutz Beeri a few weeks ago, after volunteering with the IDF multiple times this year – I’m sorry – I shed no tears for Gaza – If Hamas or the PA were not corrupt and had not pocketed/and or weaponized the billions they have been given Gaza would be in a very different situation than it is now – This is all Self inflicted by their elected ruling party

  26. Mak and Mantis – thank you for making excellent points. Such a shame GUwonder shows such intolerance.

  27. An uniform should be an uniform with no additions. Once you make an exception for some charity or cause you will have issues saying why this and not that.

    While Israel certainly has gone too far and has political issues, Hamas certainly is an organization the world would be better without. Unfortunately has made things easier for Hamas on the PR front.

  28. Palestine is recognized as a state by over 120 member states of the UN. The number of European states recognizing Palestine as a state has been rising in recent months.

    The “anti-Israel left” in Europe didn’t take a shellacking in the recent elections. It was primarily the wish-washy left and wishy-washy right that took a shellacking in the recent EP elections and saw the far-right gain at the expense of all but the “anti-Israel Left”.

  29. DB is complaining about me being “intolerant”? ROTFLOL

    Intolerant about what? That too DB’s complaining all while DB sides with Mak and Mantis with their Lord Don the Con Tr*mp.

  30. Israel is an increasingly fascist state, but despite the genocidal aspirations of a minority of its people Israel seems to have capped its (deceased) terrorist Meir Kahane-loving extremists by instead driving forward for them a longer-term ethnic cleansing strategy rather than an explicitly genocidal campaign.

  31. The 35k number of persons killed is probably a very severe undercount of those killed by the Israeli siege on Gaza after October 7th. When even war crime-committing Hamas’ ultimate “human shields” from October 7th’s cross-border raid into Israel proper have been getting killed by the siege and hostage-holders and yet are undercounted, it’s a safe bet to assume that a degraded Hamas has no effective way to count up more than the easy count and that Hamas’ ability to count accurately and comprehensively has been on the decline over time.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if the number of Palestinians who have been killed in Gaza during the siege since October 7th is already over 45k people. The casualty figures including the injured are multiples higher than the numbers killed. And the overwhelming majority of the casualties in Gaza during this siege are almost certainly women, minor children and the elderly. That’s just what can be expected in a super dense place with the population demographics it had at say this time in 2023 — especially when Israel has been dumping lots of 2k pound “dumb” bombs on the Palestinian housing stock in Gaza.

  32. I have always hated LHR security – IME they are reverse racists. I guess the customs team is as well.

    I hope we do not see the crap when I transit through soon as I will not be holding back. I have plenty of time to kill and dying to upload video.

  33. GUtlessWonder may be the only person who thinks Hamas undercounts casualties. No one, and I mean no one, else claims that. Now that’s in the tank.

    Like Mary McCarthy’s remark about Lillian Hellman, it may be said about GUtlessWonder that “every word (he) writes is a lie, including “and” and “the”’.

  34. Israel’s government may have become “a fascist state committing genocide…” but let’s not mistake Israelis as embodiments of Israel’s government. That’s like equating Palestinians with Hamas, which is a travesty. Don’t ban (like Maldives’ gov’t) humans or treat them poorly (like London’s customs officials) just because of their nationality, ethnicity, race, etc.

  35. No pins etc, supporting any cause should be placed on a uniform.
    Likewise, no Star of David pins, necklaces ond so on should be permitted.
    And don’t be a dick and pull the ‘antisemitism’ card. We’re over that.

  36. As if we didn’t have enough political exhaustion already, now this.
    No. No freaking pins. Any. American flag included. No union pins. No pink ribbons. No pride. None of it, unless it is a express company statement ordered by corporate.
    And certainly *never* on a public official unless part of the uniform.

    Both airlines (and all forward facing businesses) and governments have to deal with literally every single kind of person. Keep it neutral.

  37. I presume there would be no “outrage” if same officers wear Israeli pins when screening flights to Arab countries?

    I mean, come on… this is a slippery slope (as we have seen in public debates in the US in recent years). The issue here is that any civil servant (law enforcement or otherwise) is employed to serve the public and must be apolitical. Any form of support for anything (besides serving the public) should be banned whilst on duty.

  38. Security screeners and government employees at UK and US airports should be able to wear a Star of David without fear of harassment or threat to their employment and employment prospects. Same thing for people in such positions wanting to wear a Christian cross pendant, a scarf, turban or other hair covering accessory, a symbolic kirpan on a necklace or bracelet, or an Om symbol pendant. And passengers who fuss over such religious or national identity symbols on security screeners or government employees are the ones stirring the pot and being intolerant.

    I personally prefer the traditional freedom of religious expression to be found in multicultural US, Canada, UK and India than the faux secularism of too much of continental Europe.

  39. Net*ny*hu-loving C_M struggles not only with facts which are inconvenient to his wishful thinking but also shows signs of struggling in other ways. Hopefully, C_M takes up a remedial reading course this summer and a course in introspection about his lack of humanity for “the other” if he wants to stop beating a dead horse whipped up by his own imagination and his obvious lack of ability in understanding facts beyond his reach.

  40. @GUWonder
    Palestine is recognized as a state by over 120 member states of the UN. The number of European states recognizing Palestine as a state has been rising in recent months.

    To the extent this is true, it merely proves how this dispute is so driven by special and particularized animus towards Jews by so much of the world, that “120 member states” have “recognized” a country that is so self-evidently not a country in any way, shape, or form. Comparing the of recognition of the non-state of Palestine to the similar non-states of say, Northern Cyprus or Ciskei that nobody recognized, or even “almost states” like Western Sahara which is recognized by almost nobody, or some “very much states” like Somaliland which are recognized by just a few, there is only one conclusion to draw from the world’s attraction to recognize the alleged statehood of Palestine . . . they hate the Jews and have promised to remove them from the earth and have actually done so to the extent feasible.

  41. IME at LHR a lot, LHR passenger security screeners are way less likely to be “reverse racists” than they are to hassle and harass passengers on an equal opportunity basis.

    If you think the LHR ones are bad, let’s just say MAN has a bit of history of giving LHR a run for the money with regard to obnoxious screeners at the passenger security screening checkpoints in the UK.

  42. Mak seems to have a bit of cognitive dissonance and then some given how Israel itself began as a state when it faced actual existential threats from within the neighborhood and had way less than 120 countries recognize it as a state of its own.

  43. Ireland, Spain, Norway and Slovenia are the four European countries this year which are said to have gotten on board in 2024 with officially recognizing Palestinian statehood.

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